Barcelona ‘referee scandal’ could lead to Spanish giants ‘being sued’ but Laporta denies wrongdoing
According to reports, a ‘referee scandal’ involving FC Barcelona could lead to the La Liga giants ‘being sued’ but Joan Laporta has denied all wrongdoing.
Last month, it was reported that a company owned by a former La Liga referee was paid €1.4m by FC Barcelona between 2016 and 2018.
Not much has been said since then but Spanish outlet EFE (via ESPN) are now reporting that Barcelona are ‘to be sued’ as they ‘face corruption charges over a referee payments scandal’.
These charges are said to be against ‘Barcelona and their former president Josep Maria Bartomeu following the unearthing of payments to the former vice president of the refereeing committee’.
The referee – Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira – is no longer the ‘sole focus’ of the investigation as Barcelona and Bartomeu are now being ‘probed’ in relation to payments made to Dasnil 95 SL (the company owned by the referee).
Ex-Barcelona presidents Joan Gaspart and Sandro Rosell, plus Laporta, ‘will be summoned as witnesses’.
Barcelona ‘cannot face sporting sanctions’ given that over three years have passed since the alleged payments were made between 2016 and 2018.
Despite this, La Liga chief Javier Tebas has ‘promised to revisit the case once the legal proceedings have been concluded’. The report also notes that ‘UEFA and FIFA could take action’.
Laporta has insisted that Barcelona have “never had the intention of buying referees”.
“Let it be clear Barca have never bought referees and Barca have never had the intention of buying referees, absolutely never,” said Laporta at an event in Barcelona earlier this week.
“The forcefulness of the facts contradicts those who try to change the story. We are doing well again — nothing is chance.”
Laporta has previously hit out at La Liga president Javier Tebas, who has apparently been “pushing a campaign” against him. The Barcelona chief has now hinted at this once again.
“There is a campaign to damage Barça’s interests,” Laporta added.
“It is a campaign aimed at controlling the club. La Liga does not accept that Barça did not sign the contract with CVC (a collective media rights deal).”
This is while Barcelona boss Xavi has admitted that “the worst days of his life” have come while he’s been the club’s head coach as he is “constantly judged”.
“I am constantly judged,” Xavi said on Tuesday. “It’s tough because I have a family and young children. There are many moments in which it doesn’t pay to be the Barca coach — especially if you’re a fan like me.
“It’s really hard when they say you are no good or you don’t have any character. Sometimes you don’t see it and a friend calls up to tell you you’re being killed.
“The worst days of my life have been as coach of Barca. I have wondered if it is worth it. I don’t need money … but I am a Barca fan, this is my club and I want to help.”
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